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Table of Contents
In Young Goodman Brown, Nathaniel Hawthorne recurrently used symbols and metaphorical language to provide additional connotation to the factual interpretations of his work. In Young Goodman Brown, the main character Mr. Brown chooses willingly to cut himself off from “human love and company”. Mr. Brown ostracizes himself because he is disgusted by the insincerity that exists in the lives of the people who surround him. Martin deduces that Goodman Brown's expedition into the woods is best described as a sort of general, undefined symbol, indicating a man’s desire to turn momentarily away from faith, home, and safety, for whatever motive, for example, to have an additional experience of the wilder side of life (Martin 92).
The main character, Young Goodman Brown, is an outstanding illustration of symbolism represented in the narrative. To begin with, the name - Goodman - means that he is certainly a good person, and it an allusion to his Christian conviction. This indicates that he is a religious man with Christian ethical and moral principales. Moreover, the surname - Brown - indicates that he is simply a common man with an ordinary family name. Using the ordinary surname, the author assists the reader to understand that nearly anybody might be this man who is common as anybody else (Levy 116).
In the beginning of the narrative, the main character is mentioned as Young Goodman Brown, with the stress on Young as an indication of his virtue, and, furthermore, it signifies that he is blameless and pure. After he goes into the woods, he is no longer called Young Goodman Brown, rather Goodman Brown, as the virtue and innocence he has once possessed is no longer with him. He left his wife, Faith, and he is no longer worthy of the title Young Goodman. At the outset, he is an inexperienced and undeveloped young man who misunderstands the significance of the action he has taken, which is followed by a seemingly adult willpower to oppose his personal wicked desires (Levy 117).
Although Faith is an ordinary female name, it has a significant meaning in this narrative. It is a symbol of decency and the Christian being that Young Goodman Brown abandons for his journey. In the narrative, it declares that Faith summons him, but he turns away from her, which can also be taken factually or in the perspective of one going against God and the Christian faith. Faith is represented as a young bride; she puts pink ribbons in her hair, which are a symbol of her virtue and lightheartedness, almost resembling a child. Faith symbolizes her husband’s naive spirituality when the story begins (Martin 93).
Historically, Christianity has been associated with obedience and devoutness rather than reason or logic. At the beginning of the story, Faith, symbolized by childlike innocence, uses her affection to stop her husband from going into the woods (Hawthorne 403). This is a totally different form of persuasion compared with the companion who tries to convince Goodman Brown using strict logical reasoning (Hawthorne 404). When Goodman Brown notices her pink ribbons in her hair, he is responsive to her purity. Thus when he comes across a pink ribbon which is hanging on a tree twig in the forest, he realizes that his wife has gone as well as his faith in God.
The forestis an essential emblem in the story Young Goodman Brown. The narrative was written in the olden times, when the forests were considered as immoral places where witchcraft frequently occurred. Goodman Brown notices the urban inhabitants in the forest, and is dismayed to notice his spouse (Faith) and the cleric as well. Furthermore, it is pointed out that the unfamiliar person bears a dominant likeness to Goodman Brown, suggesting that he bears a resemblance to wickedness and transgression.This stranger, who is referred to as “companion with a snakelike staff,” represents the Devil who tries to entice the still hesitant Goodman to a witch-meeting. Of course, snakes are used to signify the devil (Hawthorne 408). In the process, the young man’s faith in Christianity gradually weakens.
Young Goodman Brown realizes his mistake and wants to return to Faith, implying that he contemplated to connect with the Christian life (Hawthorne 405). Alternatively, he continues his journey, and faces with evil. Deep in the forest, Goodman Brown calls out for Faith, but she is no longer in the woods. This is an indication of the reality that there is no optimism or morality in depravity and witchcraft, which constantly happen in the woods. The woods are a very genuine symbol of the trial of strength, bravery, and stamina (Martin 97). Therefore, the story Young Goodman Brown is packed with imagery and symbolism with respect to religion and the Christian faith. It is crammed with factual meanings as well as the scenery make up these allusions to righteousness and sin, characterized throughout the story.